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Posts Tagged ‘writing advice’

On writing: caring for your writer

April 22, 2014 15 comments

Almost a year ago, in this post, I passed along a discussion on how family and friends can support the writers in their lives. Recently, I came upon a new post entitled, “The Care and Feeding of Writers”. I think it complements the old list nicely. You can find it here. Though the entire post is a worthwhile read, if you want to read just the ten steps, skip down about half way through.

For us fledgling writers, I found this quote apropos:

Lastly, for beginning writers and their support staffs, I want you to know that publishing will not solve your life. Whether it’s a book or a story in a magazine, you are still going to have all your issues and problems — and you probably won’t be rich.

–dp

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On writing: editing with paper and red pen

March 18, 2014 16 comments

Recently, I’ve spent almost all my time editing a short story (this one here) and have gone through numerous revisions. I think the story and writing have improved dramatically, so I’m happy with my progress. But as I was about to begin my umpteenth editing session, I realized I was getting sick of staring at my computer monitor for hours on end. Still wanting to make progress, I decided to try a little editing the old-school way. Yep, I printed the story, grabbed my red pen, sat down at my desk, and started marking away.

2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 19
(Photo by Nic’s events)

I think it was helpful to look at the story differently, i.e., on paper rather than glowing letters on a screen. And it was fun to run that red pen all over the pages as I found various types of errors and problems. But I must confess, though, that the overall editing session didn’t feel as good nor did it feel as complete as my normal computer-based editing. I felt constrained, as it seemed to limit the speed at which I could write down my thoughts, and if the scope of the changes became too large, the method became unwieldy.

So while I was happy to try my hand at editing via paper and pen, for me it just wasn’t as productive, though I suppose if you consider that it did let me keep revising my story when otherwise I’d probably have just stopped for the night, it did, in a small way, allow me to get more done. Not sure if I’ll resort to it again in the future, unless perhaps I find myself ready to stab my computer monitor because my eyes are burning from too many hours of endless edits (that have followed a full day of programming on the same computer).

Anyone edit by hand much? How do you like it? Any of you refuse to resort to the old way of doing things and stick to just their computer? Tried the red pen on a larger project, like a novel? How did it go?

–dp

On blogging: to post our writing or not redux

December 23, 2013 1 comment

Ok, the first of two short posts today.

For anyone interested, my son sent me this link to an article about what is considered previously published writing. It’s a nice follow-up to one of my earlier posts about this subject, which you can find here. It’s a worthwhile read even though it basically confirms the conclusion reached in the comments/discussion of my older post.

–dp

Why do you write?

November 20, 2013 23 comments

onwriting

Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.
Stephen King

Can’t say it a whole lot better than that … Someday, when I publish my first book, I will be absolutely thrilled if even only one person reads it and likes it. If no one reads it, well, I’ll still be happy, just because I finished it. Still, wouldn’t mind getting that one like 🙂

Why do you write?

–dp

On blogging: to post our writing or not

November 13, 2013 29 comments

To post or not to post, that is the question.

You see, I’m confused. I seem to have gathered conflicting advice on what to do with what I’ve written. Some say never post anything, some say post what you want. So what is it? Is it ok to post just flash fiction? Or short stories? Maybe excerpts from our novels? Or chapters? The whole book? Or maybe this kind of stuff belongs somewhere else, like Scribophile?

Part of me wants to post my writing so I can get some feedback, and to see if anyone actually likes what I write. But the other part of me is worried that by posting anything, I will lose the opportunity to submit to publications who restrict themselves to unpublished work, where unpublished means it can’t even have appeared in my own blog.

Anyone have thoughts one way or the other on this subject? Any experience with posting your own writing, either positive or negative? Using online writing groups, like Scribophile?

–dp

On life and writing: disconnect to connect

September 27, 2013 31 comments

Ever feel connected to the world through your iPhone, or even your iPad? You can pretty much do anything with these devices: play games, read the news, send and receive email, check Facebook. Know what you can’t do with a smart phone? Well, watch this great video and find out.

As time goes by, I feel myself wanting to pull away from technology and spend more time in the real world. You know, that place where we all spent our time long before instant connection, instant communication, and constant interruption? As the video illustrates so well, as we are absorbed by our technology (or assimilated for those STTNG fans out there), we become disconnected from one another, and soon, our focus shifts from the world in which we live, and the people we love, to our gadgets. Eventually, for all practical purposes, we end up alone in a world of our own making, a world consisting of the Internet and everyone except those who are actually physically present with you. And sometimes, it can get even worse. Read this post to see how.

We writers should take note. For us, it’s especially important we take in the world around us — people, places, things — and use it to create stories filled with characters and places and events made real by that which we’ve experienced firsthand. Sure, there’s a place for the Internet and those gadgets we all love to own (click here to see my own technology obsession). They’re great for helping with research, keeping up with the news, reading about new things and new ideas, and providing a little entertainment. It’s only when our digital world becomes more important than the real world that we run into trouble.

Is anything worth losing the connection with those closest to us?

–dp

On writing: show … don’t tell

September 25, 2013 12 comments

Show, don’t tell. Show, don’t tell. That’s the mantra, right? Well, I read the following quote today:

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
– Anton Chekhov

Not sure why, but this quote really struck me. Perhaps it’s because the same old advice you hear, and often forget, is immediately followed with a wonderful example of how words can create images. If I can remember this quote every time I sit down to write, beautiful pictures just might spring forth from my fingertips.

–dp